In the face of more potential budget cuts despite increased deployments to at least Iraq and west Africa, Defense Department family policy officials are trying to figure out how to stretch the dollars they have to meet the needs that not only still exist, but are sure to grow.
The primary way they are doing this, Rosemary Freitas Williams, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy recently told bloggers, is by making sure the programs they are funding are "evidence based" and actually working.
The other way, she said, is by doubling down on making people use the assistance they already have built in Military OneSource.
Military OneSource is the DoD's main virtual portal for assisting with family problems or questions. Need counseling? Military OneSource! Want career advice? Military OneSource! Parenting advice? Military OneSource!
Doing this, of course, requires that people actually make it onto the website at all. But the DoD is hampered by their inability to advertise their resource outside of the military community. So, for example, you don't see advertisements here on SpouseBuzz for Military OneSource (beyond articles like this) because DoD simply can't do it. So they are relying on the good graces of those sites to spread their message.
"What were doing is were finding that people are necessarily going to Military OneSource, they are going to Cafe Mom," Williams said. "We are engaging those folks in our messages so we can get them to help us push out the messages."
Once they get readers to OneSource, officials have started trying to be more savvy about how they advertise other resources within the site itself. So, for example, here on SpouseBuzz you see a link in the top right for Military.com. We are hoping you think "ah-ha! I should click on that!" DoD officials now want you to do the same thing on their site, too.
This seems pretty logical and, well, a little 1998. But it is new for the DoD, Williams said.
"It's less about embedding, and more about reminding folks about what's available to them when we have the opportunity," she said.